I am not a vegetarian and I do espouse responsible meat consumption: organic, free-range, and emphasizing fish and poultry. However, I have plenty of family members, friends and staff who are vegheads, and while I’d sooner die than return to Vegan Island, I get where they’re coming from and I respect their choices. I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree. I would say let’s get into a “spirited” debate, but I think Dubya owns that one.
I believe in nutrition and fitness from what can best be understood as an evolutionary biologist’s perspective, and I therefore support animal protein in the diet. My background in biology, years in pro sports and my own personal experience and research support my view, which I’ve tagged Primal Health.
Here’s a list of great folks with whom I disagree but really dig. If you have a suggestion for the list, let me know. If you like mock meat, well…you’ve got my pity!
The (Growing) List
Don’t shoot the messenger. Weird name, even weirder cartoon-cow-on-carrot action (yeah, I know) but still a great site and vegan-friendly health news resource. Totally unoffensive, entertaining content. UPDATE 6/09/07: This site has been relaunched in a blog/podcast-friendly platform as TasteBetter. Check it out.
I don’t tend to agree with Mark’s views (and I’m not referring to myself here…SoulVeggie is run by one Mark Sutton). But for guys who think vegetarianism is a “girl thing”, or for noodle-armed wimps, you’d be wrong. As I always say, real men eat lettuce. Vegetables don’t meow, guys. Try them out sometime.
Every day, a new veggie basks in the spotlight of the Veggie Evangelist. A simple, useful, tasty site proving that vegetables are about a lot more than iceberg and baby carrots.
One of my staff’s favorite veg bloggers (I confess, it’s mainly because she eats a salad for lunch every day and insists, like us, that this habit is anything but boring). Veggie links, news, recipes and anecdotes with a personal touch.
An excellent blog from a health-minded SAHM that includes book reviews, nutritional advice, and usually-healthy vegan recipes. It’s worth a look.
Live in New York? Follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle (or just like healthy food)? You best be gettin’ to Super Vegan. A Zagat guide for the minus-meat group.
A lot of Tuno instead of tuna. If you like mock meat, you’ll love this blog. Aw, hell, even I love it.
I’m biased – this doc is a runner. A very cool personal blog from a vegan M.D.
“Now, you need to exercise at least 5 times a week, cardio wise. You should really try to do weight training as well, to make you stronger. Do you have a gym membership? Do you have any gym equipment at your house? And don’t forget to follow your low fat, low salt, low cholesterol diet. Here are your 13 drug prescriptions. Do you have any questions?”
… And this all happens in the 15 minutes before we discharge you from the hospital. That is, after you have had a 4-day stay with us. And 50% of the time, it is being said by a very overweight, under exercised, cheese-steak-eating nurse! I am not a mean person, but come on! This is yet another little gripe form your friendly nurse at Diabetes Notes and A Hearty Life.
Did your mother ever teach you the phrase, “practice what you preach”? I know I learned manners from observing my mom and dad. So how can a cardiac patient that is being discharged from a hospital take you seriously if you look like you have never walked a flight of stairs yourself? I am by no means a lean, mean machine. But I do try to stay heart-healthy by exercise and a moderated diet. I am also a diabetic, so while I can commiserate with my patients, I can also call their bluffs.
Why do clinicians who have all the resources in the world choose to do themselves wrong? I don’t know.
And why do we decide to do teaching with our patients 30 minutes before they are discharged?
By the way, those last few minutes are when our patients are most anxious. They are going out on their own, having to deal with their cardiac issues without the guidance and security of the hospital staff. Why not start the nutrition and heart health education the day of admission? Allow a few days for the patients to absorb the info and formulate some questions they might have.
After all, isn’t that part of our job? Making sure that the patient has all the resources and information they need to ensure success! Not that success always happens. Believe me, I don’t always see rainbows and roses, just read my last post here at Mark’s blog. And I get just as frustrated as the next nurse with noncompliance and neglect, but I think we are all at fault. We can’t just point our fingers, you know?
What do you think? Have you ever been a patient and had a similar situation happen to you? Do you think we need to rethink our ways of teaching as clinicians? I want to hear it. The good, the bad and the ugly…except if you have a story about me, haha.
Was Kendra’s post insightful for you? How ’bout those cheesesteaks! You can discuss this post in the forum. Would you like to read more from Kendra about health care in the trenches? Let us know! And, for more great insights and heart-healthy tips from this cardiac care insider, be sure to visit Kendra’s blog.
WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES HAS BEEN HIJACKED BY THE MONTHLY SHERLOCK AWARD.
Some days, it’s just too easy.
Who knows what news tomorrow may bring. Next they’ll be telling us that exercise is healthy, food contains calories, and teenagers make bad choices when they’re drunk.
Sometimes, I really miss the old days of tearing into mouthfuls of raw carcass and foraging for bulging grubs on the forest floor. Other days, it’s the memory of cliffside danglings in pursuit of a choice lingonberry that mists my eyes. In this era of vending machine manna from carb heaven and canned chemical sweetness and gleaming aisles of ever-sturdy trans-fat delicacies, living life on the primal side of health ain’t easy. Here’s how I cope.
What is Primal Health?
Last week I riffed at length about my passionate philosophy I’ve nicknamed “primal health”. Don’t worry – no grub ingestion required.
Quick recap: I believe human health issues – from nutrition to stress to weight loss to fitness – must be considered from a biological perspective. Our Primal blueprints – our DNA – tell us everything we need to know about optimal health. The reasons for my point of view are many, but primarily, I’m a biology buff and I love a bloody steak. To borrow an apt phrase I once overheard, if the cow stood in the sun, that’s cooked enough for me. (OK, OK, I’m kidding! I’ve gone years at a time without eating red meat.)
We’ve all heard the commonly asserted “fact” that humans are living longer than they ever have in history. You hear about people in the Middle Ages dying at 35, and early humans evidently fared even worse.
This is a little misleading. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, lived longer than most Americans do today – well into his 80s by most accounts. The reason people “back then” croaked so soon was because they had to worry about tribal wars, broken limbs, deficiency diseases and starvation. And because humans had recently decided it would be cool to live together in really crowded conditions – but hadn’t yet invented sewers – millions died from infectious diseases and plagues. It’s not as if the absolute human lifespan was any shorter than it is now. There just happened to be a lot more obstacles getting in the way of a decent lifespan.
Going back further, the earliest humans had to concern themselves with such pleasantries as ice storms and mammoths, and pesky campfire annoyances such as marauding wolves and tigers with four-inch teeth. But provided you (you’re now my proverbial early human) didn’t fall off a cliff, starve for lack of roots and berries, or become lunch for a predator, you could live a nice, long life not unlike people today. Those ice age ancestors were – to borrow a tech phrase – extremely robust. In fact, more than most of us today.
Which brings me to people today. We don’t have to worry about the elements, the animals, or starving to death (in this country, anyway). And it gets better: we don’t have to stress too much over broken limbs, infections and epidemics. The flu killed 50 million people just a few generations back. Now it typically kills a few thousand people every year – not a happy number, but certainly an improvement. However, I don’t think our high success rate, defined in terms of the majority of people making it to their 70s, is much of a success. I don’t want to “make it” – I want to relish every second. We “make it” by hobbling along with multiple drugs and surgeries, but are we really doing any better than the folks of yesteryear who had to deal with beriberi and scurvy? (Deficiency, by the way, is a problem right here in the United States, right now.)
We’re living longer, on average, but are we living better?
We have tremendous potential to harness our critical intelligence, myriad resources and powerful knowledge into a truly healthy society. But something’s been lost in translation. And the past, as represented in our DNA, offers clarity. As my contractor friends say, “When in doubt, refer to the blueprints.”
While I’m not advocating a diet of slimy grubs and still-steaming flesh, it is clear that humans evolved following some basic parameters:
– Diet: mostly raw, always whole, generally fresh foods.
Modern translation: meat, seafood, eggs, berries, roots, fruits, nuts and greens.
– Exercise in spurts: occasional cardio, but mostly walking, pushing, pulling, heaving, and hauling.
Modern translation: resistance training, weight-bearing activity, hiking, sports, yoga, stretching, pilates, walking.
– Appropriate stress response: “fight or flight” kept early humans alive and kicking (often literally).
Modern translation: address the stress of commutes, bills, and teenagers sensibly, because your body still thinks it’s fighting those mammoths, tigers, and wolves.
That’s how our DNA blueprints were drafted and, like it or not, that’s what our bodies still expect of us. How we choose to “adapt” to those primal instructions can determine whether we thrive and enjoy a long fulfilled life or whether we start down that slippery slope towards illness, depression and dependency.
In the coming weeks, I’ll address each of these issues specifically, offering my perspective, practical applications, and helpful references (including, of course, insightful scientific studies). Taking a walk on the primal side is actually incredibly easy, intuitive and natural. And I’ll show you how.
What are your thoughts? What lifestyle works best for you?
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